“Fan the Flame” – The difference this guided discipleship course has made in my life.
Before I started the Fan the Flame course, I had been just about “ticking over” in my walk with the Lord. I’d been subscribing to the same Bible Study notes for many years, and I’d really lost interest in them. I had tried to find some alternative study aids, but I’d not found anything which suited me yet. My bible reading was therefore quite intermittent and rather a struggle. My prayer times were also very hard work. Even when I deliberately set time aside to pray, I found it very hard to think of words to say.
When I was given the opportunity to follow the “Fan the Flame” course in discipleship, I jumped at it. The course has proved to be just what I needed to get me back on track with Jesus. It is true to say that it is a demanding course. Peter Thomas (who wrote it) recommends that you spend at least 20 minutes on each session, and there are five sessions in each week for five weeks. As it happened, I usually found it took me more like an hour for each study, to do it as thoroughly as I felt I needed to. The benefits for me have been huge, though. The studies have been really “meaty” for me and have touched every area of my life. One week in particular, God gave me a deeper understanding of the extent of His love for me. After meditating on what Jesus has done for me, the course asked me to consider what I have given to him. I made a list of the decisions I have taken because I am a Christian, and the small sacrifices I have made in response to God’s call. God then showed me how every one of these has been turned around by Him, so that, instead of me doing anything for Him, He has used each one as a means of blessing for me! This new insight has been so exciting and refreshing to me, it has just about blown my mind!
After each study there is a “Something to do…” section. One suggestion was to have a “fast” for a week from either watching TV, using the internet, or text messaging (whatever you would miss most) and then reflect on how this abstinence affected your life and walk with the Lord. I therefore turned the radio off for a week, because I used to have the radio on almost continuously at home. When I tried this, I found it much easier to sense God’s presence, because of the quietness around me. I therefore found I was able to “chat” to the Lord while doing the chores and this brought me closer to Him.
An aspect of the course which I found really helpful was the weekly one-to-one meeting with my guide for the course. I was able to talk about what I had been learning during the week and what God had been doing in my life. We were able to discuss questions I had, and to pray together too. It was a real privilege for me to be able to share openly in this way, and to receive prayer and encouragement in my walk with the Lord.
The last bit of the course encouraged me to consider the next steps the Lord wanted me to take with Him. These I am now taking. I therefore consider the course as part of my Journey with God, and not just an end in itself. I therefore strongly recommend this course to anyone who wants to move forward in their relationship with God.